How to Best Use The "Learn French Vocabulary In Context" Lessons

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Learning new vocabulary in the form of a story is the best way to remember new vocabulary and study grammar in its rightful context.

Instead of remembering words, you imagine the situation, you make your own movie, and associate French words with it. And it's fun!

Now, how you go about working with these lessons is up to you.

You can directly go for the French version with English translation, read the French part, and glance at the translation when needed. This is fun, but not very effective as far as learning French goes.

My suggestion however is that you:

  1. First read the story in French only, and see if it makes any sense.
  2. Then, study the related vocabulary list (look at the underlined links in the lesson: often there will be a specific vocabulary lesson linked to the story). 
  3. Read the story another time. It should make much more sense once you know the vocabulary specific to the topic.
  4. Try to guess what you don’t know for sure: you don’t have to translate, just try to follow the image and story that is taking form in your head. What comes next should be logical enough that you can kind of guess it, even if you don't understand all the words. Read the story a couple of times, it will come clearer with each run.
  5. Now, you can read the translation to find out the words you don't know and couldn't guess. Make a list and flashcards and learn them.
  6. Once you have a better grasp of the story, read it out-loud, just as if you were a comedian. Push your French accent (try to speak as if you were "mocking" a French person - it will sound ridiculous to you, but I bet you it will sound quite French! Make sure you convey the emotion of the story, and respect the punctuation - that's where you can breathe!)

Students of French often make the mistake of translating everything in their head. Although tempting, you should try to stay away from it as much as possible, and link the French words to images, situations, feelings. Try as much as possible to follow the images that appear in your head, and link them to the French words, not the English words.

It takes some practice, but it will save you a lot of energy and frustration (French doesn’t always match English word by word), and will allow you to « fill in the gaps » much more easily.

You will find all "learn French in Context Easy Stories" here.

If you like these stories, I recommend you check out my level-adapted audio novels - I'm sure you'll like them.

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Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "How to Best Use The "Learn French Vocabulary In Context" Lessons." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. (2020, August 26). How to Best Use The "Learn French Vocabulary In Context" Lessons. Retrieved from Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "How to Best Use The "Learn French Vocabulary In Context" Lessons." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 25, 2023).